THE NEW (SECOND) WDSU AM-FM-TV STUDIOS...1950

Page 4

Post card announces the opening of new WDSU studios

WDSU-TV moved to a new offices and studio facility at 520 Royal Street, the Brulatour Residence, in New Orleans' historic Vieux Carre' The new studio facility also housed WDSU AM radio, formerly located in the Monteleone Hotel.

The Broulatour Residence at 520 Royal Street in the Vieux Carre'


The gates in the above picture at the end of the porte cochere (carriage way) opened to allow visitors to the Brulatour Residence and WDSU to view and to photograph the courtyard which is probably the most photographed site in New Orleans. Those stately wrought-iron gates became the noted symbol of a great broadcasting organization, the Royal Street Corporation, owner of WDSDU AM-FM-TV.

The residence was built in 1816 by Francois Seignouret, a wine importer, who came to New Orleans from Bordeaux, France. Monsieur Seignouret built his home just after the Battle of New Orleans in which he fought valiantly with Andrew Jackson's forces on the fields of Chalmette near the site of the present WDSU-TV antenna and transmitter. Seignouret was also known as a maker of fine furniture. An "S" worked into the design of the wrought iron railings of the Royal Street balconies recalls his ownership of the Vieux Carre' property.

After Monsieur Seignouret died, the mansion was acquired by wine merchant Pierre Brulatour, whose name the residence still carries. In the days of Seignouret and Brulatour, carriages entered the porte cochere from Royal Street, passed through the gates and circled the graceful courtyard centerpiece before stopping to discharge their passengers.


The brick building across the back of the courtyard was originally a stable and hayloft. The stairway in the Spanish arch to the left of the courtyard once rose to the residence's slave quarters and kitchen. It now leads to several WDSU office spaces, where no comment about the area being slave quarters has ever been heard. The television and radio studios could be entered via several doors opening on to the courtyard and also from the mansions main entrance in the porte cochere.


In the early days of the twentieth century, the Brulatour Residence was acquired and restored by philanthropist William Radcliffe Irby. It was then that the huge, magnificewnt organ was installed on the third floor in the walls of the third floor. It still functions and for many years WDSU-TV staffers enjoyed concerts by WDSU's music director, Pete Laudeman. At the annual WDSU Christmas party, Pete played Christmas carols for the enjoyment of both WDSU staffers and invited guests.

The Audition Room of the Broulatour Residence

WDSU-TV salesmen and clients met to discus the buisness of television time buying in the beautiful Audition Room. Upper level staff meetings were also held in the Audition Room. The room also provided equipment for sales personnel, program personnel and clients to preview new programs and commercials.

The new studios were housed in a large, newly constructed Quonset hut erected in the center of the block bounded by Royal Street, Toulouse Street, Chartres Street and St. Louis Street. The site had been occupied for many years by the Kross Lumber Company. A parking lot, adjacent to the Brulatour Residence, stretched along St. Louis Street from Royal Street to Chartres Street. The lot was originally the site of the St. Louis Hotel. Soon after WDSU AM-FM-TV moved to Royal Street, the Royal Orleans Hotel, an Edgar Stern investment, was erected on the lot. An artist's conception of the new studio facility is displayed below.
Artist's conception of the new WDSU-TV Royal Street studios


First level floor plan
WDSU AM -FM studios are on the right (St. Louis Street side of the studios)

When the radio studios were moved to a building across Royal Street from the Broulatour Residence, the radio studios shown in the above plan became WDSU-TV News Department offices and work areas.

Second level floor plan


The new radio studios
Studio "A"


Studio "C"


Radio studio "C", shown above, eventually became the main work room of the WDSU-TV News Department. It also served as a on-air studio for some of the stations newscasts. Studio "C" became News Department office space.

The disk lathes of the recording facilities



The new television studios


Control Tower


The "Glass Tower" main control room of the new WDSU-TV studio was situated on the Royal Street side of the studio. A hallway led from the reception desk in the office area in the Broulatour Residence to the studio entrance. Inside the studio a stairway rose to the control room. Seen at the stairway in the above picture is Ray Liuzza and an unidentified guest. Ray and his father, Item newspaper reporter Ted Liuzza, later became owners of a large, new hotel in the city.

The first level of the tower was occupied by the projection room. Some of the equipoment, including the two RCA TP16 16mm film projectors and the RCA film camera chain are shown below.


Engineering/Camera Control on the second level in the tower


The master switcher on the Operations Director's desk in the tower
(A step-down level from the engineering control area)

Thr rack to the right of the "OD" master switcher contains an early attempt at television station automation. It was manufactured in England and bore the somewhat ceyptic nickname of "FRED". Engineers later learned that "FRED" was the British XXXXXXXXX for "Fxxxxxx Ruddy Electronic Device" It is to be noted that "Fred" did not do the job and was relegated to the trash bin.


The large studio was later modified so that it could be partitioned into two completely separate studios by an enormous electrically controlled folding wall allowing independent, simultaneous, two-studio operation. The main control room (above picture) was assigned to studio "A", the area in the foreground of the above picture and in the picture below, at the St. Louis Street side of the building. Studio "B" was the area in the background showing a boxing ring in the center and the kitchen set to the left. A control room for Studio "B" was established on the second level over the Toulouse Street garage area.
STUDIO "A"
Cameramen George Cuccia (cam #1 at the far left) and Cameraman Buddy Rizzuto (cam #2 at the far right) focus on former Cameraman Irwin F. Poche', Jr., then a WDSU-TV Producer/Director, Mel Leavitt and an unidentified guest. Another cameraman, Mel Price, stands by camera #2 to watch the show along with an unidentified male and female in the picture.

STUDIO "B"
Studio "B", at the Toulouse end of the structure, was controlled by a small "satellite" control room built above a garage which led from studio "B" to an exit to Toulouse Street. Along the wall between the garage and the studio, a permanent kitchen set was erected. The set as used in a cooking demonstration segment of the popular "Midday" show featuring Chef Paul of Brennans Restaurant in the Vieux Carre', as well as for other "stand-alone" cooking shows. One of the wonderful ladies who were featured in those programs was Lena Richards. Others who were featured in the WDSU-TV kitchen set were Amanda Lee, Marie Mathews, and Scoop Kennedy. WDSU-TV was probably the only television facility to have three world class chefs on the staff at the same time. With a maximum of 45 engineers on the staff at time, none of the dishes produced on the cooking shows in the kitchen set ever was wasted.
Shown in the above picture enjoying a party in the Studio "B" kitchen set celebrating the 1st anniversary of Lena Richard's cooking program are (L to R) Cameraman Joe Budde, an unidentified lady, Projectionist Michael Kirk, Lena Richards, Engineer Paul Yacich, former Cameraman Ken Muller, then a WDSU-TV Producer/Director, Cameraman Joe Samul, who later became one of the VIP's of ESPN. Unfortunately, the gentlemen facing away from the camera as well as the visiting VIP's are not identified.


"Scoop Kenedy and Marie Mathews are two more of the great Channel 6 chefs. They are shown in the above picture in the WDSU-TV studio "B" kitchen set with Announcer, Jack Alexander.

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